Outsider Tart on Chiswick High Road, W4: 'outsiders' as in the two guys who started it moved from the US to London (and also a play on Outsider art, perhaps?). Noticing that there wasn't, at the time, any decent American-style cakes or desserts, they set about opening Outsider Tart. Originally baking in a kitchen at Frith St, Soho and selling at farmers markets on the weekend, they moved to a new shop in 2009; they still sell at some farmers markets, though.
The shop front.
Some products on the counter. Brownies in the foreground, sausage rolls (vegetarian; turkey; pork) in the background. There is space for six people to sit inside and enjoy some of the baked goods, food and a bottle of Jones Soda. Most of the people coming in when we were there were taking things away.
Raspberry layer cake. I think it was raspberry, anyway. We didn't try it, but it goes for around £3 for a huge slice. Next time.
Chocolate buttons, for baking. As well as oodles of desserts, there is a considerable wealth of baking supplies available, and also American groceries (at eye-poppingly inflated, transatlantic-shipped prices).
'Outsider Tart' tote bag.
Pulled pork in ciabatta (£6). Pork shoulder, cooked for seven and a half to eight hours, then easily forked apart. Incredibly tasty, especially compared to the travesty that is the version at Bodean's. The bread is also a huge success. At first glance, I thought the ciabatta would overwhelm the filling, but this was no ordinary ciabatta. Wonderfully chewy and considerably crispy, exhibiting the freshness of the bread.
Another angle of the sandwich. It was huge, by the way. Well worth the six pounds paid for it.
Whoopie pie with peanut butter filling (£3). Cupcakes are "so 2009" apparently; whoopie pies are the big thing in 2010, with Outsider Tart as one of the pioneers of them in London. See also: Hummingbird Bakery (where they are smaller and not as good). There were three varieties on offer when we went in: the peanut butter filling, original (buttercream) filling and a carrot cake whoopie pie. We tried the peanut butter and carrot cake, missing out on the original as it had sold out. The peanut butter filled whoopie pie was moist and the filling was perfectly judged, with just enough sweetness. The bits of chopped peanuts added a nice crunch. The carrot cake whoopie pie was also a triumph in baking. A well made carrot cake sandwiching a just-sour-enough filling. These are as good, if not better, than the Wicked Whoopies I had in Freeport, Maine last summer.
Kahlua and pecan chocolate brownie (£2.50). The texture was perfect: crispy top, soft and gooey filling. The chopped pecan nuts delivering an earthiness to compliment the hints of coffee from the Kahlua, which didn't taste boozy at all. A really good brownie, but it was overly greasy to be honest. Look at that brown paper bag - it's like it was carrying a Philly Cheesesteak or something.
For anyone who is a fan of good service, great baking and American classics, Outsider Tart is a must-visit. Go get a pulled pork sandwich if they have it - the food changes depending on what they feel like making - an A&W root beer (£1.50 for a can), a whoopie pie and chat to the lovely staff. A great way to spend an afternoon.
Note: They should get some IBC Root Beer in to make me even happier with the place, but that's an aside.
83 Chiswick High Road